Education Matters—Sanford School's Private School Blog

The Beginner’s Guide to Private School Open Houses

Posted by Tanya Graham on October 20, 2017 at 5:00 PM

From academics to athletics, teaching style to use of technology, and campus facilities to classroom culture, it’s important to get to know a school before you decide if it’s the right fit for your family. One of the best ways to do this is by visiting a school during an Open House.

WHAT is an Open House?

An Open House is an opportunity for multiple families to visit a school at the same time and see the full range of activities that a school offers, both in and outside of the classroom.

WHo should go to an open house?

An Open House is a family affair! Parents/guardians and prospective students are invited to attend an Open House. Typically schools treat Open House as an “all hands on deck” type of event, which means that teachers, coaches, parents, and current students will be available to talk about campus life, so bring anyone who might have questions about the school.

Register YOUR Family for   Sanford School's Open House   November 10, 2017 at 8:30 AM

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Topics: Admission

What to Look for When Choosing a High School

Posted by Olivia Civiletti on August 4, 2017 at 10:45 AM

High School is one of the most important influences on the lives of adolescents. It becomes a student’s world at an age when they are still developing their identities, growing into adults, and learning about life. The teachers, students, and learning material serve to influence how teenagers think and view society as they adopt more responsible roles in their own lives. Something that has such a large impact on students' lives should be chosen with careful consideration. A student’s school should be welcoming and tailored to their needs with many exciting opportunities to take risks, make connections and be creative. There are many factors in this monumental decision to consider in order to get the most out of the experience, including:

Classroom sizes
Whether big or small, this choice should be influenced by a student’s learning style. If they do well working in groups with more peer input, having many classmates may be best suited to them. If they do better in a calmer environment with more personal attention from the teacher, a small number of classmates may be the right choice.

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Topics: Education, Admission, Community

Why We Read: Sanford School Shares a Love of Literature

Posted by Sanford Faculty and Staff on May 17, 2017 at 5:20 PM

Reading is more than a valuable skill for academic and career success; it can be a door to an adventure, exposure to a new culture, or a temporary escape to another realm. At Sanford School, we encourage students to read for meaning, but also to read for joy. Here are some favorite books to read and reasons to read from Sanford's administration, faculty and staff:

"I love reading because it allows me to travel through time and across borders even when I’m in the waiting room at the dentist or curled up cozily on my couch. I love the way reading can challenge me to think about what I believe and why I believe it." For me, Edwidge Danticat offers the marriage of these two experiences in her Haitian novels, particularly my favorite, The Farming of Bones, Brianna Smale, English Teacher and Department Chair.

"If it is fiction, then I can taste what it might be like to travel to different places and times. If it is non-fiction, then I am able to bring meaningful input into conversations with my friends about various topics. My favorite authors are Rick Riordan and Tamora Pierce."  A favorite book is The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Danielle Winter, Upper School Latin Teacher.

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Topics: Education, Academics, Admission, Community

Growth Mindset: Cultivating Growth in our Schools

Posted by Mark Anderson on January 10, 2017 at 4:00 PM

Over the last few years, it seems every book about leadership, education, or personal development mentions Stanford professor Carol Dweck and her theory of Growth Mindset. Essentially, “in growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work – brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” 


In other words, people are always improving and learning. This is an important value for schools to remember and put into practice. Children, our students, come to us as works in progress. They are growing, developing and learning at their own unique pace. It is up to us as educators to meet them where they are and help them be the best versions of themselveshelping them to rise to the challenges in the classroom, learn from their missteps and celebrate their successes.
 

I recently learned about a school that separates its homeroom classes based on standardized test scores. This is the ultimate “fixed” mindset one group is smart and the other not so much or at least labeled in this way at this particular school. I imagine this mindset must creep into the psyche of these children. Which group do you think will work harder? Which students do you think enjoy coming to school each day? 

In a growth mindset school, like Sanford, all students should see themselves as skilled and capable. Perhaps their talents are developing in certain areas, but “I can’t…” or “I’m not good at…” is not part of the lexicon. Some may need more time to master skills and content, but with master teachers at the ready to encourage and reinforce, students find their own personal success. 

Below are some ways schools can demonstrate a growth mindset when it comes to their students:

  • Offering No Cut policies with athletics and an athletic requirement that sends the message that you can and will be on a team.
  • Providing multiple levels of core courses – regular, honors, and Advanced Placement, with significant student and parent input as to what is the right level for a student. Class placement is not based on a placement test but on the students' desire to challenge themselves.
  • Creating a culture where students celebrate one another’s success. This is a culture where students do not feel threatened by a fellow student’s success.
  • Asking for feedbackhow is the school doing? How can the school be better? This candid feedback is essential. Just as importantthe school should listen. Just like we expect students to take our feedback and learn from it, we as educators should be learning and growing.
  • Ensuring that students know that their process is as valuable as their product. They should not be judged on their standardized test scores or raw aptitude, but on their work and on how they persevere through the learning process.

The core of Sanford’s culture is growthin our students as well as our educators. Hard work, effort, persistence, and a positive attitude are valued and encouraged. These elements of student success are timeless. This is where good teaching and learning stem from and what parents should expect to see in their child’s school.

Mark Anderson is the Head of Sanford School, a PreK-12 private school in the greater Wilmington, Delaware area.

Additional resources:
Carol Dweck Revisits the 'Growth Mindset'
Mindset, The New Psychology of Success, by Carol S. Dweck

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Topics: Education, Admission